If we are going to truly be Jesus disciples then we need to understand that although there were many facets of the kingdom of God that He taught those most devoted to Him, there is one basic principle that is vital to understanding everything else. That principle is this – we can do nothing of eternal value apart from Him. Jesus teaches through parables, and real life experiences. In Mark 6:30, we see this same lesson played out before the disciples. So often we only see the miracles of Jesus and miss the fact that the miracles are a biproduct of the greater lesson that the Lord would have us understand.
In typical human form, we can see ourselves so clearly in the opening statement of the disciples. Mark 6:30, “The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught.” Can you hear it? Jesus, we did this for you. We were really smart and were able to figure out how to get your message out. We were very innovative and came up with solutions that helped to advance your message. We presented your word in such a way that we made the people who heard stop and think. “They told Him all they had done and taught.”
What was the Lord’s response? “Come away by your self to a desolate place and rest awhile.” Now even as they tried to get away and rest, crowds still came and followed. Jesus had great compassion on the crowd because He saw their great need. And truly as only God can, the Lord is going to both continue to teach his disciples from where true minitry flows while he ministers to the needs of the people. The disciples cannot see how they are going to meet the needs of the people because they are in a desolate place with no obvious provision. What does desolate mean? – empty. But its from here that Jesus gives them a command, “You give them something to eat.”
Jesus is not limited by our natural resources, our monitary provision, or our lack of ability. As a matter of fact, sometimes that is exactly what gets in the way. He just says bring me what you have and watch what I do with it. (two fish and five loaves)
“And taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And He divided the two fish among them all, And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets of broken pieces and of the fish. And those who ate the loaves were 5,000 men.”
As I read this to my 8 year old son, I asked him, “How many baskets of broken pieces of bread were gathered?” He answered, “twelve.” “And how many disciples were there?” “Twelve.” Now I dont know about you, but when I think of broken pieces of bread, it conjurs up imagery of the Lord’s supper and His broken body. So what is it that the Lord is saying to them? I believe He is saying – you are going to wear yourselves out in all your busyness and self effort trying to do ministry. And truly nothing of eternal value will come of it. I need vessels that have been broken of self-suffiency and understand how to abide in Me so that I can truly live My life through them.” What does that have to do with prayer? Because prayer is the vehicle that shows our utter dependance on God. Prayer is the place that we hear the Father’s heart and allow the Holy Spirit access to flow through us out to others. Prayer is the evidence of the brokenness of self and the understanding that the source of everything is God Himself.